As a complete newbie to wood working, I figured a small jewelry box was a good place to start. I also justified to myself that a treasure chest can and should be rough around the edges, relieving me of some pressure to get things just right.
Below is the final product which I presented to my wife via a scavenger hunt. She seemed pretty pleased with the entire package.
Read on to see how it was made.
Step 1: Materials
The below materials are what I used, though this project is wide open to personal interpretation. My suggestion is to wander a hardware store and see what you can find. That's what I did.
Assuming you have all the tools already, you should be able to do this project for around $75, including the necklace that goes inside (closer to $50, if you already have stain and poly lying around).
* (2x) 1/4x2x4 oak board (actually 1/4x1.5x48)- $2.82 each
* 1/4x4x4 oak board (actually 1/4x3.5x48) - $5.75
* Wood stain - $5
* Polycrylic finish - $18
* Decorative brass corner plates (4-pack) - $2.99
* Decorative brass hasp (5-pack) - $1.98
* Brass mid butt hinges (2-pack) - $2.47
* About 6-8 inches of brass jack chain (cut to length in chain aisle of Home Depot) - $0.63
* Record-your-own-message greeting card - Around $6 at Hallmark
* Tilt sensor - $1.95 at SparkFun (buy two just in case)
* Wood glue
* Brass tacks
* Electrical tape
* Black felt or foam for lining of chest (browse a hobby shop)
* Felt sticky feet
* Skyward Heart pendant - $22
* Circular or table saw
* Carpenter's square
* Adjustable clamps
Step 2: Measure & Cut Bottom
For the sides, cut four 1.5x3.5 pieces (two for each side). For the front and back of the box, cut four 1.5x5 pieces. See picture above.
The bottom will fit inside the frame, so cut it to 3.5x4.5. See picture above.
Step 3: Assemble Bottom
Use wood glue to stack the remaining front, back, and side pieces onto the box. Clamp and let dry.
Step 4: Measure & Cut Lid
First, I cut the slats for the lid. At the time, however, I didn't have the appropriate tools for cutting straight strips, so they came out extremely uneven. After a few failed attempts at straight lines, I convinced myself that this wonkiness would actually add character to an old treasure chest (a justification I relied on repeatedly during this project).
I ended up with seven slats ranging from about 3/4" to 1" wide (all 5" long) and none of which were the same width along their whole length. See picture above.
I arranged the slats side by side and laid a couple strips of scotch tape across the group in order to keep them connected as I played with creating an arch.
I then clamped the taped slats to the constructed box. Turning the whole thing upside down allowed gravity to create an arch from the slats. See picture above.
Then it was a matter of clumsily tracing the arch onto a piece of wood and cutting it out with a jigsaw. I did this separately for both sides (since the slats were uneven, they created differently shaped arches on either end).
Step 5: Assemble Lid
Instead, apply glue to the edges of the arches and drape the slats over them. See picture above.
Clamp and let dry, then remove the scotch tape.
Step 6: Finish the Wood
Step 7: Add Hardware Details
Hinges were a bit wonky for me because the lid was not square. I left the hinge screws at varying degrees of looseness in order to allow the box to close correctly.
As you can see from the picture above, the screws poke out into the box. A dremel tool would fix this, though I found that the lining I selected was thick enough to safely pad the pointy screws.
Connect the chain to the inside of the box with a brass tack at each end.
Add felt feet to keep the chest from scratching whatever it's set upon.
Step 8: Electronics
Though I stand by the theory of this setup, my implementation of the electronics was a near total failure. The switch was wonky, requiring the lid to be closed with some force in order to reset it each time. Then, after a couple weeks of working fairly well, the greeting card recorder just stopped working altogether. Needless to say, I was rather disappointed.
You can give my approach a try for yourself, but it sounds like "xeijix" has a much better electronics setup for his own Zelda chest.
I had another idea that I'd love to try some day: Add an Arduino to the chest and hook it up to a capacitance sensor located in the inside-front of the box. Program it such that when a hand is sensed (about to open the box), it plays the Zelda treasure-chest-build-up music. Then when the lid opens, it plays the "ta-da" reveal music. If you're interested in giving this a go, here's a starting point for that project. I'd love to see the results.
Step 9: Final Details
* Line the box with thick felt or foam. I found sparkly black foam at Michael's that worked perfectly.
* Add some decorative filler to the box, and lay the heart pendant on top.
Give it to a Zelda fan and watch their face light up as they open their very own Zelda treasure chest jewelry box.